Thanks to the COVID pandemic, GUF20 was cancelled. However, this year things in New Zealand are looking a lot brighter so we are very pleased to present GUF21 (almost exactly what we were going to do in 2020). Have fun making your choices - and we'll see you in July - Hugh & Fi
It may be the middle of winter in July, but Geraldine, a picturesque village in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island, promises to give you a warm and friendly welcome. Geraldine Ukefest brings the whole town to life over the four-day festival - The Big Strum, Ukes in Cafes, Workshops, Concerts, OpenMics - providing plenty of learning and performance opportunities. Rated one of the top six ‘not-to-be-missed’ ukulele festivals by Ukulele Magazine in their Summer 2016 issue, Geraldine Ukefest is guaranteed to have something for everyone.
Geraldine Ukefest’s main goal is to offer as many people as possible the opportunity to perform. So, while the festival’s main event, The Big Concert, features well-known national and international professional artists, The Opening Night Invitational showcases a lineup of amateur and semi-professional talent, some of whom might be appearing on stage for the very first time. And if you’re ready to step up onto a smaller stage, a number of OpenMics and Jams are available for you to strut your stuff for a generous and welcoming audience.
Picking, strumming, bar chords, rhythm, singing, TAB - there’s always something that you feel could do with a little improvement, or you might want to try out something completely new. Geraldine Ukefest offers a huge choice of Workshops covering a wide variety of skills, all of which take place in classrooms and halls within walking distance of each other. Workshop tutors are experts in their fields who will do their very best to impart some of their knowledge and skill to you in the 90 minute sessions.
During the festival, Geraldine’s wonderful variety of cafés and eateries play host to an eclectic lineup of talent. Ukulele acts from around New Zealand, and sometimes further afield, are invited/can apply, to entertain during the lunch break. This afternoon event creates a huge buzz around the town, bringing Geraldine Ukefest right into the heart of the village for attendees and residents alike to enjoy. It is also a great opportunity for foodies to sample all the different homegrown tastes that Geraldine has on offer - Take your pick.
In 2013, from an idea scribbled on a napkin after a bottle of wine at a local café, Geraldine Ukefest directors Hugh & Fi McCafferty thought if might be fun to run a small mid-winter event for ukulele players - they called it The Big Strum. They would later be encouraged to add a crash course for beginners, a free community concert, Ukes in Church and an OpenMic. The Big Strum is still a key feature of Geraldine Ukefest, with hundreds of beginners and pros of all generations coming together to bash away at songs from genres of every kind. Ukes are available to borrow, chord sheets are projected onto a huge screen.
Geraldine can be found nestled into the foothills of New Zealand’s Southern Alps which provide a sheltered microclimate. Temperatures averaging 10˚C/50˚F in July will have you packing thermal underwear and your warmest sweaters - but make sure to also bring your favourite hat, scarf, wig, or lei, to brighten everyone’s spirits! If you do forget something, Geraldine has plenty of unique shops and boutiques who’ll be happy to help - Go window shopping. And to ensure maximum cosiness, the entire festival takes place at indoor venues, with a lot of effort put into festival attendees every comfort.
Geraldine has a good number of accommodation options from motels to bed and breakfasts, many situated within walking distance of the festival venues. Alternatively, there's also plenty of opportunities to stay somewhere a bit more homely at one of the district's many farm and home stay establishments - View accommodation. If you plan a longer stay, there are art galleries, a cinema, and two museums to visit. For the more adventurous there are river and forest walks nearby, opportunities for biking, plenty of places to explore, and a choice of two local golf clubs - Check it out.
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